Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Peculiar Pretzelmen with the Gentlemen of Four Outs - the Huntridge Tavern, Sunday June 14, 2015

The Peculiar Pretzelmen were heading back to their home base of Los Angeles from their Everything Must Be Broken (their latest CD - more on that later) tour and decided to make a stop in Las Vegas to play with their old pal Clay Heximer's Gentlemen of Four Outs at one of Vegas' coolest dives, the Huntridge Tavern. Kevin and Deacon had played with Soda and His Million Piece Band previously, but have branched out on their own and now perform with some different line-ups, but generally tour as a two piece.

Although only a duet, their sound somehow manages to be quite full, as they pick'n'bang'n'thrash'n' crash on various unusual instruments, including a vintage Gibson mandocello (first one I've seen in person and truly cool), a four string banjo made from a 16mm film cartridge (apparently tuned like a guitar) and what I can only describe as a 3-string ukulele, this one made from an 8mm film cartridge! The drum kit consisted of older-model, over-sized bass drum, a "real" cymbal, and various homemade percussion items, ranging from a cowbell with a spring welded to it to pie tins, wrenches, and what I believe was an exhaust pipe and a wheel well, among others! Needless to say, they did not sound like your average band!

Opening with Bobby Bare's tale of the voodoo queen, "Marie Laveau" (a bit more like Girl Trouble's garage/swamp version than Bare's country-ish take), they made good on their self-described "voodoo mayhem stomp rock". They probably get these comparisons more than they would prefer, but the sound was similar to Tom Waits, Soda and even a bit of Jack White, mixed with some gypsy rhythms, although they have their own twists'n'turns and plenty of originality. Most of the set appeared to be originals (or tunes too obscure for me), but the closer was Woody Guthrie's "Dusty Old Dust (So Long, It's Been Good to Know Ya)".

Absolutely one of my favorite new "discoveries" - great tunes, cool visuals, amazing instruments and damn nice guys, too! Check 'em out one way or another!

And yes, I play in the Gentlemen of Four Outs, so I will simply say that we had a fab time playing with the Pretzelmen at the ultra-cool Huntridge Tavern (thank you Kate and Amber!) and hope to do both again soon. Thank you to Nikki Ruffing for the Gents pix!